Posted by: Jack Henry | December 29, 2022

Editor’s Corner: Words of the Year

Here we are at the end of 2022—it’s a time when many of us reflect on everything the past year has brought us. I hope it’s brought you many good things and that you have many good things to look forward to in 2023.

And while we are ruminating about events of the past year, folks at dictionaries are ruminating about the words that had a significant effect on our society in 2022. Each year, various dictionaries choose their “word of the year.” I love this tradition! The words are determined by the number of times people searched for the word online. The most searched words are the winners, and they are a window into the year we just lived.

Following is a list of some of the 2022 winners from various English dictionaries. (Thanks, Jane G, for the initial list!) I have provided information about the meanings of all the words.

Dictionary Word Information

(American dictionary)

gaslighting The act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage
Oxford Dictionary

(British dictionary)

goblin mode A type of behavior that is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations

(First seen on Twitter℠ in 2009, “goblin mode” gained popularity in 2022 as people around the world emerged uncertainly from pandemic lockdowns.)

Cambridge Dictionary

(British dictionary)

homer A point scored in baseball when you hit the ball, usually out of the playing field, and are able to run around all the bases at one time to the starting base

(A significant surge of searches occurred on May 5, when homer was the winning word on the popular online word game, Wordle.)

Collins Dictionary

(British dictionary)

permacrisis Describes the feeling of living through a period of war, inflation, and political instability
Macquarie Dictionary

(Australian dictionary)

teal An independent political candidate who holds generally ideologically moderate views, but who supports strong action regarding environmental and climate action policies, and the prioritizing of integrity in politics woman An adult female person

(The biggest search spike for this word started during the confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson after she was asked by Senator Marsha Blackburn to provide a definition of the word woman. According to, “The prominence of the question and the attention it received demonstrate how issues of transgender identity and rights are now frequently at the forefront of our national discourse. More than ever, we are all faced with questions about who gets to identify as a woman (or a man, or neither). The policies that these questions inform transcend the importance of any dictionary definition—they directly impact people’s lives.”)

The following table lists some of the runner-up words for 2022:

Dictionary Word Information
Merriam-Webster · oligarch

· codify


· sentient

· Queen Consort

· One of a class of individuals who through private acquisition of state assets amassed great wealth that is stored especially in foreign accounts and properties and who typically maintains close links to the highest government circles

· A process by which Congress can make laws; the word literally means “to make a code” with code here essentially a synonym of “law”

· Stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning (one’s sexual or gender identity), intersex, and asexual/aromantic/agender”

· Responsive to or conscious of sense impressions; used in reference to a Google™ AI chatbot

· The wife of a reigning king

Oxford Dictionary · metaverse · Describes a (hypothetical) virtual reality environment in which users interact with one another’s avatars and their surroundings in an immersive way, sometimes posited as a potential extension of or replacement for the internet, World Wide Web, social media, etc.
Collins Dictionary · partygate

· splooting

· warm bank

· Carolean

· lawfare

· quiet quitting

· sportwashing

· vibe shift

· A political scandal (in the UK) over social gatherings held in defiance of public health restrictions during COVID

· The pose of an animal lying flat on the stomach with its legs stretched out

· A heated building where people who cannot afford to heat their homes may go

· Relating to Charles III of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

· The strategic use of legal proceedings to intimidate or hinder an opponent

· The practice of doing no more work than one is contractually obliged to do

· The promotion of sporting events to distract attention from a controversial activity

· A significant change in a prevailing cultural atmosphere or trend.

Macquarie Dictionary · truth-telling · The act of relating the facts of a situation exclusive of any embellishment or dilution applied as justification for past actions.

You knew there would be splooting pictures, right?

Happy New Year to you all. “See you” in 2023!

Donna Bradley Burcher |Technical Editor, Advisory | jack henry™

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123

Pronouns she/her/hers

Symitar Documentation Services

About Editor’s Corner

Editor’s Corner keeps your communication skills sharp by providing information on grammar, punctuation, JHA style, and all things English. As editors, we spend our days reading, researching, and revising other people’s writing. We love to spend a few extra minutes to share what we learn with you and keep it fun while we’re doing it.

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